Archive for September, 2008

AIF, 46.8 hours (0.7 hours last flight)

Ok folks… FIXED! Got the scary image of the other Sport Star out of my head and stuck three good landings today. It was more on angle of approach and speed management. That plane is a little different than the 172 and needs a touch down speed of about 50kts in the 1 notch of flap configuration. Rechecked out and feeling good!

Still no NTSB report published on the other Sport Star. Will post it when I see it.

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AIF, 46.1 hours (1.0 hours last flight)

Garrett & I took up the Sport Star today! Lots of fun. EXCEPT. Landing was a bit rough.

Yep, after I had kissably smooth ones in the 172 on turf, I had a pretty rough one today. So much so that the owner of the school suggested I take an instructor up to practice!

Good idea… I don’t want to be a safety risk! So I’m going up with the chief instructor sometime next week to polish that baby.

I reflected back on my landings in the SportStar, and the ones that I did the best on were on very long runways. My problem is that I am coming in a little too fast, and after seeing the wreckage of the other Sport Star, I lost my confidence and didn’t want to stall. With enough speed, I won’t stall, but I was freaking out for no reason. The stall speed with the plane in the configuration I had it in was 38 kts. I was going 60. That’s an easy 22kt margin.

So with a long runway, I can take my time floating away to bleed off speed. On the short runway at 52F, I don’t have that luxury. I was definitely a little embarrassed, but the only thing bruised is my pride. I would much rather have an experienced pilot tell me that I need to get some help with something, than have an NTSB examiner tell me that!

I’ll spend an hour with the instructor, which should allow me to get six good landings in. Then the next time I am going up, Matt & I are taking the Sport Star to Stephenville (BBD) for barbecue.

Garrett was a hit at the hangar and was telling everyone how he got to fly the airplane. I’m so glad that I get to share this with Garrett!

Oh, and something else…. After seeing the wreckage of the Sport Star, we’re taking a look at buying a plane. Nothing against rental facilities, but I’d almost rather get a plane that has had a thorough once-over by a good mechanic, and be the only one flying it. That way, I KNOW what happens to the plane. Plus, long term I’ll save a ton of cash.

Will check back in after my flight instruction to tell you how I did!

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AIF, 45.1 hours (1.0 hours last flight)

Got some flight time with my old instructor today! Instructor time? But you are already a pilot!

Yep, but there are times when you are trying something new, that you want to do it with a CFI next to you instead of just by yourself.

Spins were out of the question today. The main reason for this is that I’m not going for my spin CFI endorsement. The secondary reason is that spins screw up the gyros in an airplane. Since those things cost $250/each, the mechanic does not want us doing it in any IFR certified plane. N52119 is the plane I flew today, and it is the best IFR 172 that the school has.

So here’s the plan on spins. We’re either going to wait for 5915A to be ready for flight (it has no working gyros), or I’m going to go to Marcair and do some spin training there. Either way, it’s important to me and I’m going to do it.

Today we flew up to Ironhead. The whole point of this was to get practice landing on turf. I did beautifully, logged 3 landings on turf (to a full stop), and then we headed home. Quick day of flight, but I am comfortable on turf now. Pretty easy actually, and it was not nearly as rough as I thought it was going to be. And the North end had a 25 foot slope rise on it!!

I also got a look at one of the SportStars in the hangar. Nothing special, except someone crashed it! Thankfully no one was hurt, but it was another great lesson at someone else’s expense on aviation safety. When the report from the FAA comes out, I’ll post it so you can see the official details.

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AIF, 44.1 hours (1.3 hours last flight)

Happy Labor Day! I’ve been itching to get back up in the air, and James & I decided to take the SportStar (919LA, which is harder to say than 901LA) up for a spin. We planned a short trip from 52F, around the Class B, to Alliance (KADS). After topping off the tanks, we departed! The wind was calm at the field, so I departed to the south, but the winds ended up picking up enough to have us switch around to landing & taking off to the north.

About 13 miles from KADS, I picked up their ATIS and we listened. It told us to contact regional approach for any VFR traffic inbound. That was a new one for me! So we contacted regional approach, got a squawk code so they could track us, and handed us over to Alliance Tower. After the handoff, we were given the option to make left or right traffic (I always prefer left as you get better visibility of the runway), so we called out left traffic and were cleared to land.

We taxied to one of the FBOs on the field to be greeted by three VERY eager guys wanting to give us fuel. The SportStar burns 5 gals/hour, so the 30 minute flight really did not give them a reason to roll the truck. They looked a bit disappointed. Sorry guys.

We sat in the FBO for a little bit, and then packed up to leave. This was a practice run for us as I’m going to be taking some folks skydiving (not out of the plane I am flying) in October, so I wanted to have seen the layout of Addison with my eyes before asking folks to meet me there. Though, after looking more closely at the chart, in order for me to get cross country credit for the trip, it I need to take off from Alliance. That will be easy for the folks to get to (much easier than 52F).

On the way back, things were uneventful (as on the way out). 52F was much busier when we landed. Two planes departing the runway, one departing the pattern, and one doing a run up. We landed without incident and taxied back to the flight school. Off to park, and then in the car!

Now it is time to do expenses. FUN!

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